Is racism universally (that is, objectively) wrong, or is this something that people should be free to decide for themselves? In other words, is racism something that you think should be wrong at all times for everyone in all cultures and communities, or is this merely your personal preference?
If there is one thing Christians can wholeheartedly agree with young postmodern secularists, it is that, in large part, they are motivated by altruism, a strong desire to advance human rights, and to care deeply for the universal welfare of humanity. There is a tendency among young postmoderns to want to treat with benevolence all people regardless of their ethnicity. This is truly to be admired.
At the same time, however, without blinking an eye, secularists will openly tell you that there is no objective right or wrong - that all morals should be left to the individual to decide. That there is no cosmic or ethical order outside of subjective preferences. But if morality is nothing more than our expression of personal preference or feelings, and does not exist independent of them, then why do people (even secularists) find universal judgments to be irresistible in practice? Their views of racism is a good example. Even the most ardent materialists are unable to refrain from passing moral judgments, even as their philosophy tells them otherwise. They live as if we are accountable to a moral standard that exists beyond themselves.
The Christian believes that we are to love our neighbor as ourselves. God reveals this to us in the highest order of importance. That means we are responsible and have an obligation to care for the most vulnerable in our society and people who are not like us (Luke 10:25-37). Therefore it is irresponsible to claim that how we treat others is just a matter of personal taste. If I only say 'to each his own' most would find this deeply troubling. Secularists, therefore, provide shallow and incoherent motivations to love our neighbor. Good intentions can still lead to disastrous results if you don't ground it in an unchanging reality. If you don't know that racism is objectively wrong, not merely a personal preference, then your solutions to racism will prove inadequate as well.
This is an area of cognitive dissonance, and thus poses a real problem, for secular orthodoxy. As soon as you claim that others are obligated to follow your personal preference, then it is no longer a personal preference but you are appealing to an objective truth that transcends all human opinion. You assert there is no objective right and wrong but then act as though there is. This means you are participating in something you claim doesn’t exist. This is hopelessly inconsistent. If racism is wrong for everyone, personal preference completely disappears, at least in practice. This inconsistency will serve to undermine the very good you are hoping to achieve. It reveals that deep down secularists are aware that objectivity and universal laws exist, but suppress acknowledging it. This is to avoid reality. It not only lacks logical consistency but fails to bear out experientially.
What does it matter? Because inconsistency is a sign of a belief system built on sand. Somethings' gotta give. The belief in relativism has no foundation or standard to appeal to, only trusts in shifting personal feelings. And who knows where that leads. The rejection of moral absolutes in theory but not in practice is irreconcilable which means either one or the other is correct. Human beings cannot escape who they are and that is why we cannot avoid making objective moral judgments. And if that is who we are as human beings then secularism is not consistent with the actual world we live in.
Many secularists believe that morality is by consensus. What if you saw the consensus about racism eroding? What if you saw that half the world was moving toward a new consensus that racism was okay? On what basis, then, could you argue that the emerging new consensus is wrong, since, in your view, something is only wrong if there is a consensus that it is wrong? It seems that the only way you could “reverse the new consensus” would be if you grant that racism is wrong even if the consensus changes. But that is an appeal to a universal objective law that transcends human opinion, something secularism axiomatically rejects.
Secularism is also a view which naturally leads to vigilante forms of unjust violence. Since there is no final arbiter of perfect justice, in their view, then we must get justice now. That is why our educational institutions are looking more and more like the cultural revolution in China. Not recognizing the depravity and limitations of man secularists are under the illusion that man is capable of reaching a utopian society. And the ends justify the means. I daily see justifications being made for vigilante violence, destruction and hatred by secularists. But there is no justification. So in this twisted logic, does that give the green light for Christians to engage in violence and destruction every time they perceive an injustice as well?. No. The best justice we can have on earth as sinful and limited creatures is to work in an orderly manner through proper legal channels.
So which understanding of the world enables us to treat all people with respect and dignity? Secularism fails to adequately answer life's biggest questions and it is therefore a bankrupt system. The gaping inconsistency in its ideology means that any attempts to find a solution to the world's problems will also be filled with Intractable problems. This means it is a false god which will never deliver on its promises, only enslave and control us. Christianity offers a more rational and consistent story and so demonstrates that it is more in line with the facts in the real world. ON the question of racism, we believe that it is always wrong and that this truth transcends all human opinion.
We ought to exert our efforts at creating a just society for all. But we must remember that no amount of law (necessary as it is) can change hearts. All the laws in the world will not stop wicked men from being racists. So societal injustices are clearly not the root of our problem, but a symptom that something much deeper has gone wrong. As Christians we recognize that good and evil cuts down the center of our hearts. So while we once stood as enemies of God yet Jesus came to absorb the judgment we justly deserve. When someone experiences this, then grace, forgiveness and compassion toward all becomes one of the great focuses of their life.
How we treat people from ethnicities other than our own is not a subjective preference, but of paramount importance. If you believe racism is evil, like I do, then how do you ground this belief? You cannot know something is crooked unless you know what is straight. Secularism has to borrow from the Christian story. They don't believe in objective morality with their lips, but they do in practice. By the grace of God, this should lead any honest secularist to consider that their belief system is incoherent at a fundamental level, and needs to be reconsidered.